Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My New Article, "Who are Somalia's Al-Shabab?," Published @ African Arguments

UPDATE (July 29, 2011): David Shinn, the former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, commented briefly but positively on my article at his own blog HERE. I've also been cited in an article by Yassin Musharbash in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel HERE.

I have a new article posted to African Arguments, the collaborative web site between the Royal African Society of the United Kingdom and the Social Science Research Council. I was invited to contribute a backgrounder piece on Somalia's Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen ("Al-Shabab" or "Al-Shabaab") Islamist-insurgent movement that controls most of the country south of the autonomous region of Puntland, including roughly half the capital city of Mogadishu.

A quick note about the piece: I was not as explicit as I should have been regarding Al-Shabab's position on international humanitarian aid agencies. They have banned SOME but not all agencies. In my mind when writing the section o...n the famine it was clear but upon re-reading it after having someone point it out to me, I see that it is not necessarily clear to those other than the author (me).

The introduction reads:

"Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (Movement of the Warrior-Youth, “Al-Shabab”), the Islamist-insurgent movement that controls most of Somalia south of the autonomous region of Puntland, has its origins in the most radical segment of the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). Following the dissolution of the ICU government in late December 2006 in the face of a full-scale Ethiopian invasion backing Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Al-Shabab emerged at the forefront of the Somali armed factions. Its founder was Adan Hashi Farah ‘Ayro, a young Somali militant who had previously traveled to Afghanistan where he met Usama bin Laden. ‘Ayro, a former protégé of veteran Somali Islamist Hasan Dahir Aweys, then the deputy ICU leader, eventually began to operate largely independently of him and the ICU as a whole."

Read the rest at African Arguments.

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